Five graduate designers are each to receive a £10 000 grant to help launch their careers, under a bursary scheme supported by the EsmÃ©e Fairbairn Foundation.
A group of 15 product designers was chosen by a range of industry luminaries, including Ron Arad, Tord Boontje, Tom Dixon, Michael Marriott, Jasper Morrison and Marc Newson. The graduates’ work will be exhibited at Design Mart at the Design Museum in London, from 23-26 September. Christopher Labrooy’s Felt Chandelier light (far right) and Peter Traag’s 130% chair are pictured.
The five winners will be chosen by a panel that includes Design Museum director Alice Rawsthorn, British Council head of design Emily Campbell and V&A curator Gareth Williams. The EsmÃ©e Fairbairn Foundation will fund a tour of the Design Mart exhibition to regional museums and galleries.
According to Rawsthorn, Design Mart was conceived to enable young designers to exhibit their work at a time when manufacturers, retailers and collectors are converging on London. The inaugural Design Mart has been scheduled to coincide with the 100% Design and London Design Festival events.
‘It was clear from our conversations with young designers and their tutors – such as Ron [Arad] and Tord [Boontje] – that the first few years after graduation are the most vulnerable part of designers’ careers. We wanted to try to redress that,’ explains Rawsthorn.
The EsmÃ©e Fairbairn Foundation, one of the UK’s largest grant-awarding organisations, was keen to aid young designers. Rawsthorn combined the foundation’s bursary with the Design Mart project. If successful, the scheme may become a regular part of the Design Museum’s programme.
Design Mart will occupy a new space in the Design Museum, generated by conversion work by architect Kitchen Rogers Design.